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Art on the Trail

Public art invigorates public spaces and helps to engage the community. It draws people onto the Trail, creates a recognizable identity, and links the landscape to the history, architecture, and social fabric of Milwaukee.

Art can be used to tell our story, honor our history, or explain an environmental concept in a creative and engaging way. It can create a more inviting space, for what may seem to some, an unfamiliar space.

Over time, several pieces of artwork have been developed specifically for the Hank Aaron State Trail. Please enjoy photos of the existing artwork on this website, but better yet, see them in person. Read on to learn more about the Milwaukee Road Monument, a sculptural work in progress.


Milwaukee Road Monument

A sculptural work honoring the Milwaukee Road workers

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People of the Road - the sculpture designed by Richard Taylor was chosen to be the Milwaukee Road Monument that will honor and celebrate the thousands of Milwaukee Road workers who worked in the Menomonee Valley from 1848 to 1985. 

Taylor is a native of Milwaukee, with commissioned work located around the country. He has worked with many organizations over the years to integrate his sculptural work into specific settings.People of the Road was inspired by actual pictures of Milwaukee Road workers from the Milwaukee Road Archives.

Or mail to:
Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail
2300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53212

Please Contact Us for More Information About the Milwaukee Road Monument:

Melissa Dorn Richards
dornrichards@gmail.com

Melissa Cook
Trail Manager
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
melissa.cook@wisconsin.gov
414-263-8559

 Rendering of the "People of the Road" monument

Rendering of the "People of the Road" monument

 Location at the corner of W Canal St and W Milwaukee Rd where the monument will be installed

Location at the corner of W Canal St and W Milwaukee Rd where the monument will be installed

The sculpture will be located near the corner of West Canal Street and West Milwaukee Road where the Milwaukee Road Rail Shops' chimneys once stood. Now along the Hank Aaron State Trail, it is a highly visible area with hikers, joggers, cyclists, and between 6,000 to 7,700 cars passing by daily.

The Rail Shops are an important part of Milwaukee's history. In the early 1900s, the railroad was the largest employer in Milwaukee employing 5,500 of its famously skilled and dedicated workers in the Menomonee Valley. Many of them lived and raised their families in the surrounding neighborhoods.

In 2010, the last vestiges of the Milwaukee Road Rail Shops, the chimneys, were demolished due to structural issues and concern for safety. The chimneys had stood as a visual historical reminder of this history. A small amount of interpretive signage along the trail continues to tell the story, but a strong, engaging visual statement is missing.

Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail, Menomonee Valley Partners, and the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee worked with public art and Milwaukee Road experts through a call for artists and design process that included public feedback. We are now working to commission People of the Road as a powerful reminder of the role the Milwaukee Road and their employees played in the history of our city. Our goal is to raise $250,000 to have the work created and installed. Your support would be a great help in ensuring that this goal is met.

$1,000 earns a permanent spot for your name on the recognition plaque for the Milwaukee Road Monument

  Overhead view of the Milwaukee Road Shops property with the 35th Street viaduct running across the middle of the page. The former chimneys are on the west side of the viaduct. All structures relating to the Milwaukee Road are now gone. (Milwaukee Road was the commonly used name for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad.)

Overhead view of the Milwaukee Road Shops property with the 35th Street viaduct running across the middle of the page. The former chimneys are on the west side of the viaduct. All structures relating to the Milwaukee Road are now gone. (Milwaukee Road was the commonly used name for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad.)

Supported by:

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Milwaukee Road Historical Association

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the Coca-Cola Foundation

The Sigma Group

Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee